Federal report issued regarding education resources for juveniles in custody
When I was Executive Director of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, I worked on prisoner re-entry issues for the State of Illinois. One of the things that I discovered then, and know now as private defense counsel, was that resources in detention and prison towards education can make a difference when a young person is released from custody.
A lack of funding for education for the incarcerated has been a major obstacle towards successful re-entry to society. With that in mind, the joint United States Department of Justice and Department of Education “Guiding Principles for Providing High Quality Education in Juvenile Justice Secure Care Settings,” https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/correctional-education/guiding-principles.pdf, is welcomed. (The report may also be found at https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/correctional-education/index.html.)
The five principles stated in the report are:
“I. A safe, healthy facility-wide climate that prioritizes education, provides the conditions for learning, and encourages the necessary behavioral and social support services that address the individual needs of all youths, including those with disabilities and English learners.
“II. Necessary funding to support educational opportunities for all youths within long-term secure care facilities, including thosewith disabilities and English learners, comparable to opportunities for peers who are not system-involved.
“III. Recruitment, employment, and retention of qualified education staff with skills relevant in juvenile justice settings who can positively impact long-term student outcomes through demonstrated abilities to create and sustain effective teaching and learning environments.
“IV. Rigorous and relevant curricula aligned with state academic and career and technical education standards that utilize instructional methods, tools, materials, and practices that promote college-and career-readiness
“V .Formal processes and procedures –through statutes, memoranda of understanding, and practices–that ensure successful navigation across child-serving systems and smooth reentry into communities.”
The implementation of the principles stated in this report will assist many young offenders to successfully re-entry into their communities when they are released from custody.
Lori G. Levin
Attorney at Law
180 N. LaSalle, Suite 3700
Chicago, IL 60601